First of all let me thank Prime Minister Fico for inviting us to Bratislava. My words of gratitude also go to the Slovak people for their hospitality and patience. I know that it is not always easy, especially with all the security measures in place, but you did a great job.
Bratislava is the first summit during which we discussed the common EU future of 27 States, without the UK. It was a sad moment for Europe when the British people decided to leave, and so it required an honest diagnosis. Today we had a frank discussion about the root causes of the current political situation in Europe. The fact that millions of Europeans feel insecure is real. People are concerned about, what they see, as lack of control, and express fears over migration, terrorism and last but not least, about their economic and social future.
Our assessment is sober but not defeatist. While we all agree that the European Union is not perfect, we also agree that it is the best instrument we have. That is why we are determined to correct the past mistakes and move on with common solutions as the EU of 27. We will not continue business as usual. To move the EU forward we have discussed a Bratislava roadmap, which sets out the objectives for our work ahead of the Rome meeting in March next year, when we want to conclude this process.
Let me mention some of the objectives discussed today:
- Never to allow for the return of uncontrolled refugee flows of last year and to ensure full control of our external border to get back to Schengen. We are determined to continue our co-operation with Turkey and Western Balkans but also to establish migration compacts with African countries;
- To do everything necessary to support Member States in ensuring internal security and fighting terrorism. Intensification of information-exchange among security services of Member States is an urgent priority;
- To strengthen EU cooperation on external security and defence. In December, the European Council will decide on how to make best use of the options available in the Treaties;
- To create a promising economic future for all, by strengthening the single market and increasing investments;
- and finally, to safeguard our way of life and to provide better opportunities for the young Europeans.These objectives are matched by a number of very concrete measures. I will not go into all the details, you can find them in the roadmap. Let me just mention that a number of leaders have decided to immediately deploy extra personnel and equipment to help guard Bulgaria's border with Turkey. I want to thank them for this cooperation.
We should deliver more practical and tangible decisions in the next months. To that end, let me congratulate President Juncker for his excellent initiatives, which he presented in his State of the European Union speech. We discussed many of them today and I hope that all the institutions will cooperate on their implementation.
To conclude, let me say that the Bratislava Roadmap will guide our actions when we meet during our regular European Councils meetings in October and December, and also in Valletta, and later in Rome for informal meetings. I hope that the Bratislava Summit will lead to the renewing of trust and confidence in the European Union. This will only happen if and when people realise that we are delivering on our promises through loyal cooperation between Member States and institutions. Today I can say that there is hope. Thank you.